Farmed Fish May Pose Risk For Mad Cow Disease



Added colorants can account for up to 1/3 of total feed costs

Jun 18, 2009

It’s a well-known fact that farm raised salmon that sports appealingly pink flesh has been artificially colored, often with Canthaxanthin, a chemical that has been linked to human eye defects and retinal damage. US law now requires labeling that identifies farm raised, artificially colored salmon but sometimes rules are broken. In 2003 Safeway, Kroger, and Alberstons were sued for failing to identify artificially colored, factory raised salmon.

Now there’s another, even more compelling reason to stick with wild caught salmon. An article by University of Louisville neurologist Robert P. Friedland, M.D, in the June issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, suggests farmed fish could transmit Creutzfeldt Jakob disease – commonly known as mad cow disease – if they are fed byproducts rendered from cows.

Because the American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish per week for its heart healthy omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and because consumption of fish is widely recommended for those at risk of cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s diseases, Friedland and his co-authors are urging the government to ban the feeding of cattle byproducts and bone meal. Friedland puts it this way:

“We have not proven that it’s possible for fish to transmit the disease to humans. Still, we believe that out of reasonable caution for public health, the practice of feeding rendered cows to fish should be prohibited,” Friedland said. “Fish do very well in the seas without eating cows.”

Eating wild caught salmon is the only way to avoid chemicals and toxins no matter how strict labeling laws and government restrictions become.

chumChum Salmon

Victoria suggests encouraging people to try Keta/Chum or Sockeye salmon as an alternative to Chinook. Keta/Chum salmon are plentiful but some commercial fishermen choose not to fish for them because the market demand is low. Creating a bigger market for them would help the fisherman directly.

More good reasons to eat wild caught Alaskan salmon and help our friends in the bush at the same time!

~ Jane


16 Responses to “Farmed Fish May Pose Risk For Mad Cow Disease”

  1. WakeUpAmerica Says:

    Ewwwwwwwwwww!! I never eat farm-raised fish anyway because of the number of fish in a small amount of water (toxins from waste); however, that just gives me the urge to regurge. I loved the line about fish doing quite well in the ocean without eating cows.

  2. InJuneau Says:

    Oh yeah, apparently the fish food makers go around with the SalmoFan and ask “farmers” what color they want their salmons’ flesh to be. Then they add the appropriate amount of dye to the feed and, voila, colored salmon! In nature, the wild ones get their flesh color from the crustaceans they eat. “White king” is actually the flesh color all salmon would be if they didn’t eat the buggies and krill and such.

  3. Secret TalkerΔ Says:

    Interesting and gross…Anyway, I thought that the white salmon were called salmon trout and it had to do if they were going upstream or down( cannot remember which way)??

  4. InJuneau Says:

    No, white kings are just an aberrant salmon, just a regular king that either didn’t eat any crustaceans or can’t process the color of them into their flesh I think. They’re not any different from other kings except for that (and I think they taste milder, maybe because they weren’t eating crustaceans?).

  5. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    It’s really enough to make me almost you know what. But, I’m in a lovely fishing town right now in SE Alaska, so I will visualize all of those beautiful wild salmon coming home on the boats today instead!

  6. UgaVic Says:

    In Juneau – yup – you have it on the Kings. Genetically not different, just eating different stuff. Some rivers tend to get more so the marketers have moved to make it a ‘special’ deal:-)

    Eating Chinook is still good too, but helping create market for the keta/chum will help lots.

    Sockeye is another good choice and especially helps those of us in the Bristol Bay area as it is our main fish.

    I am also wondering about all that catfish and other farmed fish if they are using these things to feed their fish!!

  7. Jim Says:

    I try to buy or grow or fish for natural organic food. Wild salmon is just about the best food in the world.

    Farmed salmon is awful– it is so mushy– you could suck it up with a straw. Ewe! Makes me cringe just thinking about it.

    They should pass a law to color farmed salmon flesh fluorescent green so it is easy to tell the difference between it and wild salmon. Sort of a bicycle jacket green. Yummy!

  8. anonymousbloggers Says:


    Love the green salmon idea!!


  9. the problem child Says:

    DH and I have decided. No more farmed salmon. It’s just appallingly bad, even when you get a good piece, it is nothing compared to wild, whether Atlantic or Pacific. Had some wild Alaskan the other night. It tasted the way I remember it tasting when I was a kid.

  10. Jim Says:

    Perhaps farmed salmon glows in the dark too. Wouldn’t that be novelty cuisine?

  11. UgaVic Says:

    Just remember that unless you are darn lucky and either live in Maine where they again have a small wild Atlantic salmon run or had it specially shipped in- Atlantic salmon is USUALLY farmed salmon.
    I did not realize this but check it out – gets them away from having to call it farmed:-)

  12. Jim Says:

    Seems like a fluorescent green, glow in the dark, vision impairing, mad cow infested salmon would make a wonderful biological weapon– I wonder if the Pentagon has looked into this.

  13. alaskapi Says:

    Jim- If they haven’t , they oughta… :-D

    (This making jokes is great fun until I get to thinking about the reality … then I get creepy crawly hair-on-the-back-of-my-neck -standing-up sensations… )

  14. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    It is an abuse of nature’s bounty of the worst kind! But it’s still funny to think of green glowing salmon flashlights – sometimes I have to laugh to shake off my sorrow over the shortsightedness of greedy, lazy humans.

  15. Jim Says:

    Joking aside, my primary concern about Atlantic Salmon is invasiveness. Apparently they occasionally escape their British Columbia aquaculture pens and end up in Alaska rivers. Wild Atlantic Salmon can travel 2500 miles between spawning grounds and feeding grounds. If summer Arctic Ocean ice continues to diminish, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of them showing up in Arctic Alaska rivers or even coming south through the Bering Straight.

    If people want to buy farmed fish, I figure that’s their problem. But if Atlantic Salmon start taking over rivers like Pike have taken over lakes, that would be our problem.

  16. InJuneau Says:

    Not only do the get into Alaskan rivers, but they’re darned aggressive and will out compete wild fish for food.

    I think we could bioengineer in that jellyfish gene to make them glow-in-the-dark. They’ve done that with hamsters and puppies I think…

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